Friday, August 8, 2008

Rust Belt woes

Canton, Ohio, where I lived for most of the seventies, has made a national top ten list. It’s not anything to brag about, though.

According to Forbes Magazine, Canton is one of America’s fastest-dying cities. It’s no surprise that the city is smack in the middle of what has come to be known as the Rust Belt. So are five of the other ten communities—Detroit and Flint, in Michigan, and Cleveland, Dayton and Youngstown, in Ohio.

All six cities have relied upon the steel and automobile industries, for work, for decades.

Forbes based the study on three factors—net population change since 2000, the unemployment rate and the gross domestic product (GDP) of the metropolitan statistical area. Canton hasn’t lost population, in fact it has a net gain of 200 souls, but it’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent, the fifth worst in the nation and it’s GDP was only .7 per cent. That’s point seven.

On the bright side, if you are working, Canton is an inexpensive place to live, compared to most of the nation. And recent declines in housing costs are negligible. Of course, housing costs never really skyrocketed in the first place.

I’ve said it before—Ohio is a good place to be from.